West Yorkshire and Harrogate Councillors’ Health Scrutiny Committee makes moves to hold Integrated Care System to account

At its 30th July meeting, the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Joint Health & Overview Scrutiny Committee finally made progress towards setting up statutory subcommittees that can formally consult with the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Care System.

West yorks STP JHSC meeting July 2018

This is the only democratically accountable means of scrutinising the slash and trash West Yorkshire and Harrogate Sustainability and Transformation Plan – which, as we foretold at the Committee’s November 2017 meeting – has now become an Integrated Care System.

At West Yorkshire and Harrogate Joint Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee’s previous meeting in November 2017,  CK999 had pointed out it was not enough for them to just scrutinise bits of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan, such as the proposed reconfiguration of Hyper Acute Stroke Services.

We urged them  to scrutinise the whole West Yorkshire and Harrogate Sustainability and Transformation Plan, and the imminent move to turn it into an Accountable Care System.

But the Chair had said they didn’t know if they had the power to do that, because the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Joint Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee is a discretionary Joint Health Scrutiny and Overview Committee – set up by local authorities to carry out relevant functions subject to terms and conditions as they see fit.

In contrast, a statutory Joint Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee is set up by local authorities when relevant NHS organisations wish to (or have to) consult with them on any proposal for a significant change to the NHS across the local authorities’ areas.

Meeting a mere 8 months after its previous meeting, the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Joint Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee at last has taken steps towards setting up Subcommittees with this statutory power.

outside the meeting
CK999 and Leeds KONP members made deputation statements at the meeting

Independent Reconfiguration Panel has told Sec of State to make sure scrutiny works for Sustainability and Transformation Plans and Integrated Care Systems

On 9th February 2018, the Independent Reconfiguration Panel Chair, Lord Ribeiro, advised the Sec of State for Health that:

“The Department of Health and NHS England should consider whether the [health scrutiny] regulations and guidance are sufficiently understood and used effectively by all parties, particularly in the current context of STPs and “systems of care” rather than “organisations”.

This is because, with the advent of Sustainability and Transformation Plans/Partnerships – and now Integrated Care Systems,

“The complexity of consulting on issues on this scale is not to be underestimated and requires a level of preparation, co-operation and exchange of information that many NHS bodies and their local authority counterparts may not previously have faced.”

This was part of  the Independent Reconfiguration Panel’s advice to the Secretary of State about the Horton General Hospital Referral from Oxfordshire Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

The Leeds Scrutiny Officer alerted the July 30th meeting  of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Joint Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee to

“significant legislative changes around the NHS and Scrutiny”

He said it seems that the Dept of Health review of current guidance that the Independent Reconfiguration Panel has called for, will happen this year.  He added that the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Joint Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee would have to take note of this in reviewing the Committee’s governance.

The meeting agreed that officers would develop proposals as soon as possible to:

  • Formalise the arrangements for the discretionary Joint Health Scrutiny and Overview Committee, including North Yorkshire members, to cover the area and work of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Care System.
  • Set up a statutory West Yorkshire and Harrogate Joint Health Scrutiny and Overview SubCommittee to consult with the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Care System about significant NHS changes that affect all the local authorities
  • Set up a statutory subcommittee to operate on joint Local Authority areas that fall short of whole West Yorkshire and Harrogate footprint.

It was agreed that the officer working group would submit the proposals to each Local Authority on the Joint Health Scrutiny and Overview Committee, for their views before it became the final document.

Cllr Rhodes said it was going to take the Joint Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee a while to get on top of the issues

They also agreed to regular meetings

8 Oct 1.30pm
5 Dec 10.30am
Remaining 2 meetings for the Council year to be confirmed at a future meeting.

CK999 see this as a positive step

For the whole of 2017, we were hassling the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Joint Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee to take its powers and duties seriously, since it barely met and when it did meet, didn’t get to grips with the Sustainability and Transformation Plan once the first Chair, Cllr Gruen, was replaced after only the second meeting.

Our deputation statement on the governance paper is downloadable here.(.doc file)

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